Icing is growing up.
This story first appeared in the April 22, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand, which is aimed at women ages 18 to 34, has been known as Claire’s little sibling since Claire’s, which targets 7- to 18-year-olds, has many more stores. Now Icing is being re-branded with a new store design, new logo and updated imagery. E-commerce was launched on April 10.
The less-established Icing operates 392 stores in the U.S., compared with Claire’s 3,500-plus units worldwide. Claire’s had a head start: It was launched in 1961; Icing was acquired by the company in 1996.
A new management team led by Claire’s chief executive officer Jim Fielding, a former Disney executive; Joel Herman, executive vice president, and Dina Keenan, global senior vice president and chief marketing officer, is intent on growing Icing’s presence worldwide. “We see tremendous potential for Icing,” Keenan said. “We could have 3,000 stores worldwide in the next three to five years. We have a pretty aggressive growth plan. We want to make sure we do it right strategically.
“We’ve taken a strong look at the whole shopping experience,” Keenan continued. “The new store is much airier and incorporates our gray, blush rose and metallic color palate. There’s a new contemporary look and feel. We’re really defining the Icing brand vision and what we stand for.”
Icing sells affordably priced jewelry; accessories; hair and beauty and bridal products, where Keenan sees an opportunity.
Icing’s first international stores opening in Kuwait and Dubai in the third quarter, will be franchises. Keenan said the company is delving into Canada and Europe is on the horizon. Claire’s, which is developed in Europe, recently launched company-owned stores in China.
All new units will conform to the latest prototype and eventually, all existing stores will be remodeled. In 2013, 37 stores will open, including a flagship on May 25 on State Street in Chicago. The company is based in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Icing is looking for a site for a New York flagship, but Keenan said a location hasn’t been secured.
Claire’s Inc. did $1.6 billion in revenue in 2012. “We have very aggressive sales goals going forward,” Keenan said, declining to be more specific.
Keenan described Claire’s younger consumer as still exploring and trying to find their own look. The Icing shopper knows what she wants, but is not too averse to experimenting. “We’re looking at a strategy of putting Claire’s and Icing stores [side by side],” she said. “We’re also looking at doing different partnerships, from designers to cause-related, purpose-driven tie-ins. We’re about empowering young girls and young women.”